A few months ago I did a wonderful negative painting workshop with Brenda Swenson. It was fantastic to paint in a style so different from my own. I came home inspired by the luminous quality of Brenda’s watercolors. But I was most intrigued by how much she works like a sculptor, carving an image out in negative shapes.
I find it takes a long time for concepts like that to really seep in and start to show up, even in small ways, in my work. Breaking from my usual urban sketches last week, to do small mostly black and white studies at home has been good for me. I’m back to putting brush to paper more and I was pleased to find some thinking in negative shapes showing up in these studies.
I can see bits of it here too, in how my son’s uncut hair becomes a big black helmet-like shape that forms his face.
And more subtly in this portrait of Bethlehem, who I noticed because she and I were the only two people in my local cafe with sketchbooks, not phones.
And here’s yesterday’s life drawing piece, in ink and watercolor.
A workshop with a good teacher is a gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, once again, Brenda. I’m betting this won’t be the last time I’ll say that.